Matrimonial Home Considerations

Matrimonial Home Considerations

In Alberta, the Family Property Act governs the division of the assets and debts of a couple who are married or in an Adult Interdependent Relationship when they decide to separate or divorce. The Act treats the matrimonial home differently than other property.

Understanding the law relevant to the matrimonial home is important for participating in negotiations relating to the division of assets in general. Our Edmonton family lawyers may be able to help ensure that you appreciate the matrimonial home considerations that relate to your circumstances.

How to Identify the Matrimonial Home

In Alberta, the legislation refers to the matrimonial home as the "family home" and defines it as a property that is:

  • - owned or leased by either one or both spouses or adult interdependent partners
  • - is or has been occupied by the parties as their home
  • - is a house, part of a house that is a self-contained unit, part of a business used as living accommodation, a mobile home, a condo, or a suite.

Most of the time, it is relatively simple to identify the matrimonial home. However, it can be more difficult in circumstances wherein people move frequently between residences for work purposes or to exercise parenting time with children. In these situations, the determination of the matrimonial home may depend on the specific facts. Contact our Edmonton family lawyers for help determining whether a particular residence may qualify as your matrimonial home.

Possession of the Matrimonial Home

When spouses or adult interdependent partners separate, one of the first questions that they must ask themselves is who will live in the matrimonial home? When there are children living in the home, the parents may decide to continue to share the home for a period of time after they have separated, or may each obtain a separate residence and take turns living in the home with the children during their respective parenting time. If one spouse or partner has access to another residence, it may make sense for that party to move out. What you decide will depend on the particular circumstances of your family.

If you and your spouse or partner are unable to come to an agreement, you can apply to the court for an order granting you exclusive possession of the family home. You can apply for an order even if your spouse or partner is the sole owner of the home, or is the only person whose name is on the rental agreement.

The order can also apply to the contents of the home, which can include furniture, vehicles and personal possessions.

These orders are temporary in nature. They typically remain in place until the court makes a final order with respect to the division of the family property, including the matrimonial home, unless the parties come to an agreement earlier.

Division of the Matrimonial Home

When it comes time for family property division, the value of the matrimonial home is usually divided equally between the parties, even if one party supplied more or all of the purchase price. Whether or not your matrimonial home will be divided equally will depend on the circumstances.

Contact Our Edmonton Family Lawyers Today for a Consultation

Questions surrounding the matrimonial home, including how to identify it, who possesses it, and how to divide its value, can be challenging to navigate. Our Edmonton family lawyers are dedicated to addressing a range of questions, and may be able to help you understand additional considerations in the context of your family's situation. Contact us today and see how we might be of service to you.

*Please be advised that this article does not constitute legal advice, but is intended as a general overview on a legal topic. For legal advice concerning matrimonial home considerations, please consult with a lawyer.

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